You jumped straight into the industry after graduating from Carnegie Mellon. How has your perception of the industry changed from when you first landed the standby role in Wicked to now?
The reality has become harsher and harsher. The older you get and the longer you are working, these “reality shows” make it seem like all you need is a dream and then just have someone discover you, and that’s not realistic. It’s a tough lifestyle. The business of “making it”, is one thing, but maintaining it is another. It’s the reality of having to do multiple things in order to stay alive and working. Our job is to get more jobs, my job is to continuously look for a job. And continuously dealing with rejection and heartbreak.
You’ve voiced a few animated characters like Rosetta in Tinkerbell. How does that process compare to being in front of the camera?
It’s the most fun I’ve ever had. Ever. It’s turned into my favourite thing to do. It’s something I had to work really hard to get into – it’s a really small industry. Luckily I’ve been given some chances and I feel like I’m finally in the door. I get cast as characters I would never get to play in real life. And it’s just so much fun.
You’ve sung ‘Let Me Be Your Star’ (from Smash) hundreds of times. It’s now a classic for any mezzo-soprano’s song folio. When was the point in your life when you realised you were one?
Am I? [laughs] I’m grateful that enough people know who I am to buy tickets to my concerts and keep them going. I did not want to do concerts initially. My manager asked me to put together a little concert – I said absolutely not. I have nothing to say. I planned my first concert pretty much kicking and screaming. She explained that I don’t need to impart wisdom to people; the audience just need to feel like they know me at the end of it. And I thought, “well I can do that”. Now, concerts and cartoons are my two favourites things to do.
Have you had any input on the Broadway development of Bombshell?
They keep telling me that they’re still working on it – I don’t know what the plans are. We went off the air like five or six years ago, and I’m not exaggerating, people are still so invested.
Stage or screen, what has been your favourite role to play so far?
Ivy from Smash. I got to create her. She has so many layers. She’s not all villain and I love that.
You’ve told stories about how you just missed out on playing Audrey in the 2003 Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors. Last year, you finally did, at the Kennedy Centre with Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother). What’s next on your bucket list?
My next dream role is Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd. But I’ve got a couple of years to live out before I play her.